Seminar Elders & Knowledge Keepers

Born in the Cree Nation of Saddle Lake in Northern Alberta, Doreen Spence was raised by two Traditional Cree Elders, her grandparents. Their teachings of love, kindness, humanity, language, and ethics shaped her childhood and helped Doreen to become the determined, resilient woman that she would need to be in order to accomplish all that she has accomplished in the years that followed.

In 1959, Doreen became one of the first Indigenous women to obtain a Practical Nursing
Certificate, leading her to a nursing career that spanned over 40 years. Throughout her
career she volunteered in numerous and often challenging initiatives with the police force,
school systems, and hospitals to preserve traditions and ensure a promising future for the
community.

In Calgary, where she still lives, Doreen was instrumental in the development of the then,
Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative, a grassroots organization providing a foundation for the city to discuss human rights issues facing the Indigenous community and to investigate possible solutions.

Following in her grandparents’ footsteps, Doreen Spence is an internationally-respected
traditional Cree Elder. Her teachings and traditional healing practice have led her around
the world, where she made making her mark in places like Germany, Austria, Vienna,
Slovakia, Poland, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, England, the United States: , and
the list of countries continues to grow.

Elder Doreen Spence has also been a strong advocate for human rights. She was invited to
sit as a committee member on the working group that developed the draft United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The committee met over a twenty-year
period to craft the declaration, eventually leading it to adoption by the United Nations
General Assembly in 2007.

On May 10, 2016, the declaration was officially adopted by Canada. Doreen Spence was
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the United Nations Declaration of
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Roy Bear Chief is from the Siksika Nation about 90 km east of Calgary. His
education consists of a Nursing Assistant certificate in 1981; a Social Work
diploma from Mount Royal College in 1994; a Bachelor of Social Work from
the University of Calgary in 1999; and a Master of Social Work from the
University of Calgary in 2004.

Roy has worked in Siksika Income Support, Siksika Children’s Services,
Siksika Health’s Services, and Aboriginal Mental Health, various hospitals, a
group home for spinal cord injury, and was elected twice into Siksika
leadership as a member of Chief and Council in 2000-2001 and 2008-2010.
Roy further served as the Tribal Manager for Siksika Nation administration
from 2011-2013.

Roy has life experience as a residential school survivor and has dealt with addictions issues. Roy came out of retirement to assist in the process of getting First Nations, Metis and Inuit people to meet their full potentials to become productive members of society through the Aboriginal Poverty Reduction strategy within the larger Enough For All strategy.

Casey Eagle Speaker is also known by his traditional name “Sorrel Horse” by
his people within the Blackfoot Confederation. He is a member of the Blood
Tribe in Southern Alberta.

Casey provides a wide array of presentations and workshops in the greater
Calgary area and abroad, in respect to one’s journey to wellness and
understanding of one’s identity and belonging.

In the Year 2000, Casey was awarded the Chief David Crow Child Award from
the City of Calgary for his work in cross-cultural awareness and in addition the
Dr. Joseph Crow Shoe Award from the University of Calgary for his work
within society.

Casey has served on several boards such as the Native Women’s Shelter, 4
directions Foster Parents Association, Ghost River rediscovery, Alberta
Association of Services for Children and Families. The AHS Wisdom Council
and a number of other communities. He is also deeply involved in the spiritual
practices of his people and very respectful of other Aboriginal spiritual
practices.

Casey has been working with Hull Services for the past sixteen years, as the
Aboriginal Resource Coordinator.

Casey is involved in St. Mary’s University culture and events.  He is on
campus once a month or more to meet with any students, faculty or staff who
would like to meet one on one with him.  Contact Michelle Scott, Director of
Indigenous Initiatives to find out more or to book an appointment with Casey.

Hal Eagletail is a member of the Northern Dene TsuuT’ina Nation. Located in
the Treaty 7 area of southern Alberta. He is the owner of Eaglestar
Enterprises Ltd, a company that specializes in cultural consultant work for all
industries. He is currently under contract with TsuuT’ina Nation and Alberta
Health Services as a Cultural Helper. He helps hospital patients get back to
health with traditional knowledge of herbs and ceremony.

Hal is also a Master of Ceremonies for First Nation pow-wows and Round
Dance celebrations across North America. He also facilitates conferences and
workshops.

Hal has traveled internationally taking Native dance troupes to help educate and
promote First Nations history and cultural identity. He has traveled to New
Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, France, and England.

In 2007 he was asked by the Alberta Government to represent First Nations of
Alberta at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC on Historical
Evolution of Alberta’s Native Peoples. Humour is one of First Nations best
healing medicines and Hal has no shortage of that to prescribe.

Tina Fox is the Resident Elder/ counselor at Nakoda Elementary School.  She was born and raised in Morley and attended Morley residential School for 10 years. In
her youth, she graduated from the School of Nursing Aides in Calgary, Dec. 3/60
and worked as a CNA (Certified Nursing Aide) for about ten years. Nursing was work Tina found rewarding; it was a  back-breaking job that she really enjoyed.

In 1976, Tina broke cultural barriers and got elected as Morley’s first female band
councilor and served in that capacity off and on for 14 years.  She retired in 2000
and went back to school graduating from Brandon University in May of 2003 with a bachelor degree in First Nations and Aboriginal counseling and got a job with the Stoney Education Authority in the fall of 2003 where she works with Indigenous children and their families.